- Study by UCL researchers details the effect of cannabis
on motivation to work for money.
- Lowered motivation level is a short term effect of the
- There was no long term effect on motivation due to the
A study published in the
details the influence of cannabis on the
motivation levels of people. It is widely believed that cannabis
could make people lazy but there has never
been a scientific study to understand the influence of this drug on motivation.
Scientists from The
University College London carried out two studies to understand the effect of
cannabis use on the motivation level of people.
‘Cannabis use limits push to work for money.’
Cannabis is the generic
name for the plant Cannabis sativa
This crop is grown widely and transported illegally across countries due to its
psychoactive agents that are meant to give an individual a 'high'.
- It is a widely used substance across the world.
- 2.3 million people in the U.K use cannabis between 16 to 59
years of age.
- It is also known as marijuana, hashish, weed or pot.
- The drug is used to relax and to get a 'high'
- Certain forms of the drug are found to be stronger than certain
- The use of cannabis can lead to addiction and is considered illegal in
The effects of cannabis
and its influence on people are commonly known but it has never been
scientifically documented. This psychotropic drug is known to make a person
feel light, with an increase in response to colors and music. Most importantly,
it is believed to bring in a sense of lethargy and an inhibition towards
carrying any physical endurance test.
Scientists from The University College
London decided to check this belief by carrying out a couple of tests that were
aimed at understanding the effect of cannabis on short-term motivation and
long-term motivation to earn money.
Dr. Will Lawn who is the
lead author of the study and from The University College London's Department of
Clinical Psychopharmacology says "Although cannabis is commonly thought to
reduce motivation, this is the first time it has been reliably tested and
quantified using an appropriate sample size and methodology. It has also been
proposed that long-term cannabis users might also have problems with motivation
even when they are not high. However, we compared people dependent on cannabis
to similar controls, when neither group was intoxicated, and did not find a
difference in motivation. This tentatively suggests that long-term cannabis use
may not result in residual motivation problems when people stop using it.
However, longitudinal research is needed to provide more conclusive
Cannabis and the Motivation Studies
There were two studies
that were conducted to assess the motivation to work for money among cannabis users
Term Motivation Study
17 adult volunteers who
used cannabis occasionally were included in the study. They were made to inhale
cannabis through a balloon on a particular occasion and at another occasion
they were made to inhale a placebo vapor through a balloon.
These occasional users
of cannabis were then tested to record their level of motivation for money.
The volunteers were made to tap the
spacebar with their little finger and were given monetary rewards depending
upon the number of times they tapped.
- 50p when the spacebar was tapped 30 times in 7 seconds.
- 80p to Ģ2 when the space bar is tapped up to 100 times
in 21 seconds
Dr Professor Val Curran
who is the senior author and professor of clinical psychopharmacology at UCL
had this to say about the tasks that were administered "Repeatedly pressing
keys with a single finger isn't difficult but it takes a reasonable amount of
effort, making it a useful test of motivation. We found that people on cannabis
were significantly less likely to choose the high-effort option. On average,
volunteers on placebo chose the high-effort option 50% of the time for a Ģ2
reward, whereas volunteers on cannabis only chose the high-effort option 42% of
Term Motivation Study
This part of the study
focused on assessing the motivation level of cannabis users extended over a
period of time. 20 people who were addicted to cannabis use were included in
the study while 20 non-drug users were taken as the control group. To assess
for long term motivation, the study group was asked not to drink alcohol or drugs
for 12 hours before the study while they were allowed to use tobacco or coffee.
The study participants
and the control group were made to perform the earlier task of tapping on the
spacebar. The study found no significant difference in the motivation to work
for money in both the study group as well as the control group.
The study shows that the
use of cannabis could induce feelings of lethargy and the individual may be
unable to perform a task even when offered a reward of money. This could signal
the significant damage that the use of this drug could unleash on people,
forcing them into a stupor that prevents them from working harder to earn
better. The long term effects of the drug did not have any effect on the need
to work harder for money, but larger studies may be required to fully establish
the de-motivational effects of this drug.
- Cannabis and Mental Health - (http://www.rcpsych.ac.uk/healthadvice/problemsdisorders/cannabis.aspx)
- Cannabis General Information - (http://www.who.int/substance_abuse/facts/cannabis/en/)